• Leading 15 players in Race to Dubai now eligible for enhanced US$5 million Bonus Pool
• Requirement to play two out of three tournaments prior to Dubai removed
• Field for DP World Tour Championship grows to leading 60 available players
The European Tour’s Final Series, the four-tournament climax to The Race to Dubai, will this year benefit from an increased US$5 million bonus pool and a new look qualification criteria.
This year the leading 15 players on The Race to Dubai competing at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, will share a bonus pool of US$ 5,000,000. This represents a rise of a third from US$ 3,750,000 last year, and an increase of an extra five eligible players.
There will also no longer be a requirement for European Tour Members to participate in a minimum number of Final Series events, although they must still fulfil their minimum overall event obligation to be eligible for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, held at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The field structure for that championship has grown to include the leading 60 available players from The 2014 Race to Dubai at the conclusion of the Turkish Airlines Open, rather than only those finishing inside the top 60.
Following Henrik Stenson’s coronation as European Number One at the end of inaugural Final Series last season, the 2014 Race to Dubai will again conclude with the BMW Masters and the WGC – HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, followed by the Turkish Airlines Open and, finally, the DP World Tour Championship from November 20 -23.
The changes to the structure of these tournaments follow discussions with the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, and were welcomed by Chairman of the Tournament Committee, Thomas Björn.
“The new regulations and the new points system are a good move,” said the 15-time European Tour champion. “It means if you miss some of those events it will be difficult to win The Race to Dubai, so there is an incentive to play in as many Final Series events as possible. The goal for us was to get the top players to play in the Final Series and this will hopefully help do that.”
The European Tour has also introduced an enhanced points system for 2014. At the conclusion of the Perth International, prize money on The Race to Dubai will be converted into points (one Euro equalling one point). Each Final Series event will then carry a total points breakdown of 10,000,000, with the winner receiving 1,666,600 points. This new scheme is aimed at emphasising the importance of the Final Series tournaments by rewarding players for their performances in them.
To be eligible for bonus pool prize money, and the appropriate Race to Dubai points, a player must participate in the 2014 DP World Tour Championship unless he has a mitigating circumstance.
The changes have received widespread support from the membership of The European Tour, led by Henrik Stenson, the reigning Race to Dubai champion: “It’s good to evaluate and make tweaks to any system,” said the Swede. “These changes are for the better and won’t cut anyone out if they don’t want to play all of the Final Series events.
“It’s down to yourself, but if you do play in all of them you are giving yourself an even better chance of winning The Race to Dubai. It’s always nice to see an increase in the Bonus Pool as well, so I think the announcement is a good move all round.”
Stenson’s sentiments were echoed by his fellow European Tour Members Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel.
Garcia said: “I’m very happy with the changes and I’m looking forward to The Final Series. At the end of the day, we are all working together. I’m very happy to see that we’ve reached a middle ground which should help make us all happy.”
Schwartzel said: “I will always try to support The European Tour when I can and it’s great to see that they are also trying to look after us with these new rules. It looks like the Final Series is moving in the right direction, to help the guys come and play in as many of the four events as possible. If you play more, you have a better chance of winning The Race to Dubai. And also by increasing the bonus pool and making it the top 15, they are all great incentives for us to play.”
Finally, following an agreement with title sponsor HSBC and the International Federation of Golf Tours, there has been an adjustment to the qualification criteria for the WGC – HSBC Champions for European Tour Members, with the 20 European Tour winners’ spots reduced to ten, and the number of places from The Race to Dubai now increased from five to 15.
Today’s announcement is a further boost for The Race To Dubai following the news unveiled last November during the 2013 DP World Tour Championship, of the renewed ten year agreement between Rolex and The European Tour which, amongst other things, saw Rolex become the Official Presenting Sponsor of The Race to Dubai Rankings.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “The inaugural staging of The Final Series was a huge success with the best golfer in the world at the end of last year – Henrik Stenson – eagling the final hole at Jumeirah Golf Estates to win not only the DP World Tour Championship but also The Race to Dubai. As ends of seasons go, it doesn’t get much better than that.
“However The European Tour always listens to its Membership and we were aware that there was some fine tuning required to the overall structure of The Final Series to make an already excellent product even better. We are confident that the changes we are announcing today will do just that.”